Winning Poems

1st Place—Child Category

Terrible troubles

Poor kids in NZ
Short on cash for food and clothes
We all share the cost.

Joseph Popham

Judges' comments: It was very thought provoking and left our minds with plenty to ‘chew over’.

2nd Place—Child Category


A brain is lettuce.
Full of intricate designs.
Thinking up ideas.

Jenson Aaron Young

Judges' comments: It takes the idea of ‘food for thought’ in a creative direction. Great use of imagery.

3rd Place—Child Category

I am so hungry

I am so hungry
I could eat twenty thin mints
And four girl scouts too

Joy Knight

Judges' comments: We loved the humour. Not sure if the author was referring to girl guide biscuits. Eating four girl scouts must mean you’re REALLY HUNGRY!

1st Place—Teen Category

A Taxonomist's Nightmare

Oh you senseless fruit;
Neither apple nor pine, yet
still a pineapple.

Amelie Andreas 

Judges' comments: We thought this very clever and enjoyed the device the poet used to accentuate the Haiku form and addressing the object.

2nd Place—Teen Category

Potatoes on the brain

root from under dirt
makes long and winding journey
to deep-fat fryer

Dani Colombick

Judges' comments: We commend the poet for such an original story within their poem.  We thought this haiku interesting and clever. 

3rd Place—Teen Category

Party in my Mouth

The tiniest bite
An explosion of flavour
Party in my mouth

Saskia Kylie Young

Judges' comments: This haiku ‘pops’ and is another interesting concept. It is a lovely little haiku and we enjoyed reading the poem out loud to savour the sounds it produced.

1st Place—Adult Category 

Sunlong Takeaway
You are the one who calms my
Sweet n sour heart

Penny Wallace

Judges' comments: This haiku responds to the stated theme of the competition (“Food for Thought”) on at least two different levels.  It’s about food and how food can make you feel good. The clever turn of phrase ‘sweet n sour heart” adds the dimension of what it’s like to be human.  And the poem is funny too.  Finally, who doesn’t love Chinese takeaways food – especially from Sunlong!
This haiku was not only humorous but also related well to the theme. I enjoyed how the local takeaway store Sunlong was used which made it personal especially to those living in Ōtaki as it is often referred to the best Chinese takeaway there. Favourite line would have to be “sweet n sour heart”.

2nd Place—Adult Category

in a crowded bar
sipping a lonely coffee
waiting for no one

Hal Gimpelson 

Judges' comments: Have you ever been in a bar or restaurant by yourself watching others interacting?  It’s a sad place to be in but one we all have experienced – as Carson McCullers put it “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.”  This poem captures the feeling precisely.
Having sat in a bar myself many times over the years contemplating life and people watching this haiku really related to me. I think this haiku will resonate with many people that go through lonely times through-out life.

3rd Place—Adult Category

I find at 89 years young
My right knee goes out
more often than I do

John Edgar Joyce 

Judges' comments: The surprise in this poem about going out at the age of 89 and how infrequently it happens (rather the knee going out and pretty often at that) is so clever it’s laugh out loud!
Another great haiku which describes the life and times of an 89 year old in a humorous way.

Honourable Mention

Don't Go Hungry

Pipi, paua, kelp
Kai moana, endless feast
Nature's gift ki te tangata.

Susan Mary Greenham

Judges' comments: Aotearoa provides us with such bounty when it comes to food, and this poem reflects our great good fortune by using te reo Māori alliteratively. It reads something like a prayer.
I enjoyed how this haiku explains the relationship with tangata and the moana and how it provides kai to sustain man.